All aboard the bike bus

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Bus ser­vices be­tween Palmer­ston North and Feild­ing have had an upgrade. Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion last year has re­sulted in a new and im­proved timetable with ear­lier and later buses, ad­di­tional Satur­day ser­vices, and bike racks at­tached to the front of the buses

Chair of Hori­zons’ pas­sen­ger trans­port com­mit­tee Rachel Keed­well says the bike racks are a great way to open up lo­cal cy­cle­ways to more peo­ple.

‘‘Now you can hop on and head to Feild­ing to cy­cle around the Feild­ing Cy­cle Loop, or travel from Feild­ing and try the Bri­dle Track in Palmer­ston North.’’

The bike racks are de­signed to carry two bikes with wheels larger than 40cms (16 inches) in di­am­e­ter on a first-come, first­served ba­sis. Load­ing and un­load­ing will be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the pas­sen­ger.

‘‘I en­cour­age any­one with a pas­sion for cy­cling or any­one who just wants to get more ac­tive, to go and utilise this fan­tas­tic new re­source,’’ Rachel says.

Bike racks will be rolled out on all Hori­zons ur­ban ser­vices from July this year. The pro­vi­sion will also be help­ful to cy­clists who have ei­ther punc­tured, are fa­tigued, or faced with in­clement weather.

As for timetable im­prove­ments, daily re­turn ser­vices on Satur­day be­tween the city and Feild­ing have in­creased by 300 per cent, from one to four.

Week­days, there are now three ex­tra daily re­turn ser­vices, mak­ing a to­tal of 14 dur­ing the school term.

The ear­li­est buses leave the city’s Main St ter­mi­nal at 7.10am, and travel via the hos­pi­tal, air- port and Bun­nythorpe to Manch­ester Square, to ar­rive at Feild­ing High School in North St by 7.54am be­fore head­ing back to the Feild­ing train sta­tion. The se­cond morn­ing ser­vice de­parts the city at 7.40am on the same route to ar­rive at Feild­ing High by 8.19am.

Buses leave cen­tral Feild­ing from 6.55am, ar­riv­ing at Main St via Bun­nythorpe, the air­port and hos­pi­tal by 7.40am. Dur­ing term time, the 7.30am and 7.45am ser­vices travel on to Palmer­ston North Girls’ and Boys’ Highs re­spec­tively to ar­rive by 8.30am.

In the af­ter­noon, buses from the city run half-hourly be­tween 4.30pm and 6pm. Off-peak, times have been tweaked so that reg­u­lar ser­vices run ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery 1.5 hours

Timeta­bles are avail­able from the Palmer­ston North and Feild­ing i-Sites, and on­line at hori­zons.govt.nz along with an in­struc­tional video for pas­sen­gers on how to load and un­load bikes from the front-mounted bike racks.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

Signs of things to come. Hori­zons re­gional coun­cil­lor Rachel Keed­well and Zach Brown 11, try out the new bus bike racks. Hori­zons’ Feild­ing buses are the first to be equipped with the racks, with the Palmer­ston North ur­ban fleet fol­low­ing later in the year.

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